ST. CLOUD, MN- In the press conference following the Frozen Faceoff last weekend there was mention of the notoriety and success of the SCSU power play currently ranked #2 in college hockey with a success rate of 28.9%. However, there was little mention of the SCSU penalty kill. And, probably rightfully so. If you scan the NCAA statistics you will find the Huskies penalty kill near the middle of the pack at 82.5% and 26th in the country. However, if you drill things down further you’ll find that statistic somewhat deceiving entering this Saturday’s NCAA contest with Ferris State University.
Entering the battle with the Bulldogs, it certainly appeared that Ferris State with their PK at 85.7% and 11th in the country had the upper hand in that department. But, trends are meaningful and teams evolve during the season and special teams are one area that can be improved and refined as the season matures. For example, heading into the Denver road trip in early December the Huskies penalty kill was seemingly struggling at 71.4% and probably at its low point statistically of the season. Part of the issue of course is the law of numbers and the credibility assigned to the statistic. In SCSU’s case, the sample is smaller due to the lower number of penalties the Huskies have and continue to incur. The team has floated between #55 and #59 in the country all season. Thus, a lack of success for a stretch will have a more pronounced effect on them than other teams.
NCAA leader UAA took 182 penalties for 520 minutes or an average of 15.29 per game. Lake Superior State was whistled more than any other team in the country at 228 for 584 minutes and 14.24 per game. On the low-end Princeton incurred 101 penalties for 227 minutes or 7.32 per game good for #58. SCSU was at #59 with 129 penalties for 288 minutes – 7.20 per game. This weeks opponent, Ferris State ranked #16 in penalty minutes with 213 for 462 minutes and 11.85 per game.
Again, trends are meaningful and since February 1st, the Huskies have played 12 games and have had to defend 39 man-advantage opportunities. This includes the two games last weekend vs Denver and UMD. They’ve successfully defended 37 of those 39 opportunities for a penalty kill of 94.8%. To further show the progress, since January 1, they’ve allowed 7 of 69 attempts for a 90% success rate. Ferris State has also been exemplary on the penalty kill since February 1 allowing 4 goals on 46 man-advantage opportunities for 91.3%.
The SCSU power play has been quite prolific much of the season. Currently ranked #2 in college hockey at 28.9% it hasn’t been quite as successful since February 1 converting 6 of 31 opportunities for 19.4%. Ferris States numbers have actually improved slightly over the last two months with a success rate of 16.1% (10 of 62) compared to their season average of 14.8%.
Some interesting food for thought entering the NCAA tournament. Who would have thought the Huskies penalty kill was outperforming the power play over the last two and a half months of the season.